With the demolition of Trinity Square in Gateshead, the city skyline lost one of its most iconic buildings. Loved and hated in equal measure, it was a monumental building that shaped the Gateshead skyline and made it infamous the world over, with its prominence in the 1970s cult film, Get Carter.Many such buildings of the Brutalist and Modernist design movement that once shaped our cities and towns are now being removed from our urban skylines. This exhibition explores the shapes and silhouettes these buildings create and how artists have captured the sometimes oppressive and grand nature of these edifices within our urban landscape.
Featuring work by North East based artists, Cath Campbell, Michael Mulvihill, Jeffrey Sarmiento, Reader and the University Sunderland and University Sunderland graduate Erin Dickson.
Cath Campbell’s series of meticulously drawn invented architectures are often inspired by plans for buildings that are inaccessible.The drawings are both complex and intricate, with an immense fragility that undermines the inherent solidity and permanence of the subject matter. Campbell makes sculpture, drawing and large scale architectural interventions, which attempt to reinvent our associations with the built environment.
Michael Mulvihill’s obsessively worked drawings are weighted with an oppressive sense of menace that we (can all) feel from these vast buildings of concrete and steel. His landscapes and urban scenes reflect on Mulvhill’s childhood growing up within the constant tension of cold-war Europe. The urban landscapes he depicts have a basis in reality taken from cities seen and photographed yet are seemingly conveyed as void of life.
Jeffrey Sarmiento’s graphic architectural interpretations of his explorations in the Baltic States focus on the reminders of the Soviet occupation that now exist as crumbling concrete and steel facades. These sharp and angular glass sculptures allow the viewer to glimpse at the imposing buildings these once were. Inspired by ethnography, Sarmiento’s artwork allows him to create a unique connection with his surroundings, drawing on histories creating a fusion of form and content.
Erin Dickson creates 3-dimensional surfaces using the effects of depth and distortion from the light generated within the spaces of our urban landscapes. Warping our perception of what is seen; layers of glass create a new silhouette that of which is in fact formless. Influenced by her architectural background, Dickson takes an original perspective on the intersection of glass and architecture using water jet cut glass to create her unique 3-dimensional works.
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